My KDP Select Short Story Kindle Publishing Experience

Where should I publish my writing?

When it came time for me to start marketing my short story, The Viability of a Seed, I found myself facing a perplexing decision. Should I publish across multiple platforms, or go with the newly released Kindle Direct Publishing Select program? I knew from my previous attempts at seeking publication that my cross-niche style of story writing is difficult to sell to professionally focused markets. I also don't like the idea of giving away my writing, expositions of my heart and soul, for free to the benefit of some third party. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with giving away a sample of your writing to gain a following, but I don't like the premise of working for free when someone else is gaining from my effort. (Again, sometimes that's the way the system works.. I just don't buy into it.)

After boiling all that down to a manageable remainder, I found myself faced with so many questions!

Musings about Self Pubbing in General

The Viability of a Seed is a story about a lot of things. It's about death, rebirth, and regrowth. Sure, it can be a narration of spiritual transitions, but the soul of the story lies within the metaphor.

There are a lot of reasons I could have chosen not to hunt for a publication to submit to. I've spent hours looking over Duotrope's database, but I just don't feel comfortable selecting some random mag out of the nether to send my work to. Honestly, I don't think they're looking for random submissions as a primary source of content either. We all want to be liked, followed, retweeted, whatever... so it only seems natural to submit to a magazine you've read and appreciated for some time. I'm just not that type of writer. I guess you could also say that I'm also not very comfortable with the type of writer I am.

But I am what I am. So when I look in the mirror I see the reflection of a lone wolf, one that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the pack. I'm my own alpha male, and I don't buy into the power struggle around me. That probably makes me weak, but I feel it's better to know your weaknesses than to pretend they don't exist.

Self publishing can be a very lonely road. Along the way you'll meet authors who fit the same profile. You'll meet some authors who might not be ready to publish yet but want to move forward anyway. You'll meet the unknown, the semi-famous, and the superstars.

As is life.

Take a look at The Viability of a Seed on Amazon.com for an example of how you can self publish your own work through the KDP and KDP Select programs.
Take a look at The Viability of a Seed on Amazon.com for an example of how you can self publish your own work through the KDP and KDP Select programs. | Source

The KDP Select Program

It was around the time I was ready to self publish my short that Amazon released the KDP Select publishing program. At first glance, it looked like a winner. The lowest I could price a single short story was $0.99, and with so much competition out there for reading time and the sheer number of authors attempting to break through with free full-length novels on the market... well, I guess I got a bit self conscious.

The KDP Select program allows you to offer your e-book or short story for check out to Prime members for a month at a time for the 90 days you're enrolled. This 90 day enrollment is renewable, but the catch is that Amazon demands exclusivity during participation in the program. For clarity, this means your participating work cannot be published or otherwise offered anywhere other than on Amazon. The potential payout comes from Amazon itself, who will reward you monetarily based upon the number of free Prime checkouts your work receives per allotted time period. You'll still be able to make sales from non-prime members during this time, the commissions from which will be handled in the manner stated in your publishing and commission agreement (based on pricing structure).

So given that you've got a somewhat loyal following already, with a good portion of Kindle fans and Amazon Prime members, the KDP Select program could outweigh the cons of having your work exclusive to the Kindle platform. Truly devout fans would simply download the PC Kindle application to read your work anyway, right?

The cons? I think my experience so far demonstrates the negative side of the program. I don't much have a loyal following to speak of. A few of my family members and a friend or two have supported me, but my exposure is extremely limited. I don't think that I'm a bad writer. I just haven't been able to get my writing out in front of enough people yet. That's where the exclusivity portion of the deal becomes a nail in the coffin for my future participation in the program.

Why not just opt out and go with another distribution option like Smashwords? I'd love too. However, this experience comes with a cost. I must leave my work in the KDP Select program until the 90 day period has completed. I can hope that I'll gain a bit of exposure before the campaign has ran its course; that a few kind readers will take the time to review my story, which may convince other readers that this is something worthy of their precious reading time.

Still, it's been a learning experience. When I have more loyal readers, when those readers fit highly into the Kindle platform demographic, when I've grown slightly bored with the routine of a multi-platform release... maybe then the KDP Select program will be worth a second look. Until that time, I suppose I ought to leave it to the big dogs as my plate will consistently remain devoid of scraps from the windfall.

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Comments 13 comments

Website Examiner 4 years ago

To me, such an exclusive program sounds odd at a time when cross-platform and affiliate programs are spreading. I was interested to hear what you had so say about your experiences. Good luck with selling and marketing your work!


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 4 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory Author

Thank you, Website Examiner! I will be including this, and future works, in the Smashwords program for a broader publishing experience. There was a lot of hype in the KDP Select program and I was hoping for better results from Prime member downloads.

I'm actually very happy that I was able to learn this lesson first-hand and share my experience so that it might help other self publishing authors out there who face the decision of where and how they should publish their work.


Longhunter 4 years ago

I'd been wondering about going with the KDP Select program. Your hub helped me make up my mind to leave my book with Smashwords. Thanks.

Excellent hub, Brady.


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 4 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory Author

I'm so happy that my experience was able to give you a better informed position to make your decision. I'm sure the KDP Select program can be a complete winner for some authors out there. I just don't hink it fits the bill for those of us just starting out, without the time to really promote those Prime downloads so we can snag a bigger portion of the pie.

I'm just so grateful that I decided to learn this lesson with a short story rather than the full length YA novel I'm working on.

Thanks again for the comment and for your encouragement, Longhunter. :)


viveresperando profile image

viveresperando 4 years ago from A Place Where Nothing Is Real

Thank you for your insight! Found it extremely useful! gave it a useful!


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 4 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory Author

Vive, I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my hub. I'm so happy you found it useful.


triciajean profile image

triciajean 4 years ago from Bantam, CT

Hi, Brady Bones. Thanks for sharing your KDP Select experience. My Kindle Select eBook about living in community, Sweet Potato Suppers, was downloaded more than 800 times in January. I suppose 800 is not a lot, but for me it is. I have not yet seen what that comes to in a bit of the Kindle Select kitty.

The only thing I don't like, so far, is the exclusivity. That really gave me pause. But at least I'm getting exposure. Maybe people are into it because of the relevance to the changing economy and to Occupy. I'll keep you posted. And good luck with The Viability of a Seed. Sounds like a thoughtful story.


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 4 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory Author

I did a free promotion and only managed to eek out a meager 118 downloads. These weren't the Select downloads so I won't see a penny from any of it. In fact, no Prime members have downloaded Viability whatsoever, so my participation in the program hasn't been much of a boon at all.

I'm very happy to hear about your success, though, and I wish you the very best. Please come back and keep us posted as time goes on!


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

this is very insghtful, and for me, it is true. I am enrolled in the Kindle slect at the moment, and while sales have been okay, I would not say that they are breaking any records. It is up to you to get the word out without of course, falling foul of the contract done by Kindle.

excellent info


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I just published my first e-book with Lulu.com. No sales yet, but it's too early to see where it will go.


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 4 years ago from trailer in the country

Thanks for sharing...it's great to read another writer going through the same ropes. I also haven't developed a following yet...not sure how that is done. I choose not to use Facebook, since some of what I write is rather personal...and is not meant necessarily for family and friends.


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 4 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory Author

Now that I've added more titles to my Kindle library, I notice that the free promotion days of the KDP Select program for one title can spill over into sales across the others.

Make sure to fill out your author profile page for Amazon and as you stock your shelves with available titles, you'll gain more benefit.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_enco...

I still haven't seen a Prime free download yet, but then again my titles are all short stories to date.


Stephanie 3 years ago

My advice on the KDP Select program is don't do it. It's a waste of time and 90 you could be makingmoney eleswhere. I don't write short stories, I write full size novels (if you gonna go, go big, right?) and fairly popular ones at that. I put my book into KDP just to see what would happen. I still sold as many books on amazon as I always had, but out of the 0 day period, do you know how many people borrowed? 4! Just 4. I sell over 200 book a month on amazon, but I can't give one away for free? People don't pay the $79 a year to borrow books. They do it for the free Prime movies and free shipping. Why would they pay what breaks down to roughly $7 a month to borrow a book they could have bought for 0.99-4.99? The ones that do borrow the books for free admit that they rarely even read them. The people that are going to read your books are the people that pay for them. They just don't see the value in something your giving away for free. Put your books on all channels and give out Smashwords coupons for free copes for review. However you decide to go, good luck with your books!

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